Here are my tips to making the Spending Fast a better experience.
- Want to do it. Don't do it because someone else is or because you think you should. Do it because you want to grow, learn and improve. Attitude is huge here.
- Involve your kids (and husband). This is the first year Calder is really old enough to slightly understand. He knows that in February we aren't going to buy any new toys or games. We won't be going to the thrift store and we won't be visiting the dollar spot in Target. I think it will be really good for him. Frugality is Jason's life. I can't think of a better Valentine's Day present for him than to do a Spending Fast every February. He seriously loves it and gets behind it 100%. One of us packs his lunch and he makes sure to avoid planning things that would require eating out.
- Look at every day as an achievement. It really is. Every time you don't buy something, that's awesome and you should feel good about it.
- Keep a list. This is a fabulous habit to form during Spending Fast. If you keep a running list of all the things you want to buy you will be amazed how many of them you cross off before the end of the month because you really don't need/want them anymore. I stopped using paper towels last February because I realized I just don't need them. I use regular washcloths for anything I previously would have used a paper towel for. You might surprise yourself with what you can live without and just buy because you always have.
- Plan fun free activities. If you're scheduled to go to the park or museum or a playdate, you're less likely to be sitting at home thinking of the things you want or wandering the Target aisles. (Can you spot my weakness?) Also, start a project with things you have. If you have yarn, make a hat, if you have baking supplies, make a cake. Do something creative with what you have.
- If your grocery store has little scanners you can carry around the store and scan as you go, use it. I love that it keeps a running total for you, so you know how close you are to your budgeted amount. You can add or remove things from you cart at any time, so if crackers put you over the limit, you can take them out. If your grocery store doesn't have these just carry a calculator. Type your budgeted amount into the calculator and subtract as you go. You'll have to leave a little fudge room for tax.
- Use this month to organize and go through your closets, drawers and cupboards. If you know what you have, you're more likely to use it or wear it. If you have clothes cluttering your closet that you never wear, get rid of them. You'll be more likely to wear what you like because you can see it. The same is true for drawers and cupboards. You may find the extra box of bandaids or can of beans if you organize your drawers and cupboards.
My friend Lauren posted some suggestions and answered some questions you may be having. She is really fabulous, has adorable kids and is so fun! I love that she does the Spending Fast with me every year. If you have a blog and are documenting your Spending Fast experience on it, I would love to read it! Just leave it in the comments below!
*And Happy Groundhog Day!*